A national conservative group has endorsed Republican candidate Rob Maness in Louisiana's U.S. Senate race, choosing him over Congressman Bill Cassidy.

In announcing the endorsement Monday, Senate Conservatives Fund Executive Director Matt Hoskins says Maness offers the best choice to defeat Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu "because he's not a Washington insider."

The Senate Conservatives Fund is a political action committee founded by former Sen. Jim DeMint, a tea party favorite.

Maness, a retired Air Force colonel from Madisonville, has struggled to drum up financial support for his campaign and has been far outpaced by Cassidy. But Cassidy continues to run into criticism that he's not a strong enough conservative opponent to challenge Landrieu, who is running for a fourth term in the November 2014 election.

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